History and stories of …

From 1547, the first cadastre of which Valence has kept track, mentions the House of Pra and its owner, the lawyer from Grenoble, Me Laurens de la Pra. The latter had acquired, which was then an island of small buildings, to the family of Baulne, some members of which were illustrated in the crusades of the Middle Ages. It was Me Laurens de la Pra who had the houses razed inside the courtyard, replaced them with a mansion and built the tower, thus obtaining a more harmonious overall architecture. We owe him the blazon, still visible, on the front door.

In 1560, the property was sold to a rich merchant from Valence, Mr. Giraud Frère who bequeathed it to his son, Claude Frère. An ambitious and cunning intellectual. With a degree earned at the University of Bologna, Claude Frère seeks a chair at the University of Valencia, gets it, which allows him to escape the tax, as is the case then for the Donor to the protests emitted by the Municipal Council, Claude Frère prefers to reserve his energy to the good choice of his relations and thus becomes the friend of the very influential Constable of Lesdiguières, which earned him to be named president of the Parliament of Grenoble.

At that time, the rue de l’Equerre was called rue du Grand Palais, perhaps in memory of the Roman Imperial Palace whose presence, in this district, backed by the old theater, is attested by several historians and by the former architect of the city, Marius Villar.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the street of the Grand Palais is not pierced towards the Church Saint Jean and Claude Frère, who leads a very worldly life, finds there, the reason of a true humiliation: the narrowness the lane forces his guests and himself to access the house … in a sedan chair, where the needs of his rank would require the use of a coach! Against the sum of 400 guilders, he asks the City Council to pierce the street that will take the name of rue Neuve, then rue de l’Equerre.

Women’s Time

La Maison de la Pra was then handed over to the President of Faure, Claude Frère’s sister, then to the Ursulines, then to the family of Laurencin and, at the end of the 19th century, to Mme Serre. In 1900, it is rented to the city, which installs a primary school for girls. Of these feminine imprints on the property, we will remember that of Amelie de Laurencin who, according to Valence Tourisme, would be the beautiful blonde girl to whom Bonaparte, in his Memoirs, reserves an emotional memory.